For the third straight year, the Conference USA Preseason Position Reviews has reached its conclusion, which means it’s time to figure out who has the roster on paper.
Each team was awarded points based on where they were placed in our categories. A team received three points for a “Great Shape,” two points for a “Good Shape,” and one point for a “We’ll See.”
Last year I tweaked the grading scale to give more weighted value to the quarterback, and less value to kickers and punters. That point system will carryover.
As a result, “Great Shape” at kicker and punter netted a team two points, “Good Shape” received one point, “We’ll See” got you zero points.
”Great Shape” at quarterback earned a squad four points, “Good Shape” was rewarded two points, and “We’ll See” granted you one point.
After tallying up the points, here are the results...
FIU - 21
North Texas - 20
Marshall - 17
Southern Miss - 17
Charlotte - 16
Middle Tennessee - 16
Louisiana Tech - 14
UAB - 14
FAU - 13
UTEP - 12
WKU - 12
UTSA - 11
Rice - 10
Old Dominion - 10
Notes & Observations
- FIU earns the title as this year’s best C-USA team on paper. Butch has slowly the built the Panthers into a formidable opponent and in his third year in Miami he now has a team capable of winning the conference. They have a mix of a high upside talent (best recruiting class in 2017 are now second year players) and experience. I’d be surprised if FIU wasn’t officially picked by the media as the C-USA East favorite.
- The most undervalued team this year is FAU. The Owls must replace NFL guys like Devin Singletary and Kerrith Whyte Jr. but I’m not buying the idea of FAU having the 9th best roster in C-USA.
- Seeing Charlotte ranked that high was a surprise. Their defense carried them last season and should still be pretty good once again. With a great kicker in Jonathan Cruz, a solid defense and an a great running back in Benny LeMay, the recipe to win with a ball control offense and good special teams/defense is there for new head coach Will Healy if he wants it.
- The bottom of the conference is starting to rise (last year UTEP finished last with 7 points) but it still has a long ways to go.
- The parity in C-USA should be stellar once again. Only three points separate the 9th best team from the worst team and that top of the conference isn’t that much superior than the middle.
- Mason Fine is by far the best QB in the conference entering 2019. Since this configuration of C-USA has formed, this is the first time where there isn’t any debate as to who the best QB is.
- C-USA has been known to be a pass-happy league and that reputation has led to some good talent in the secondary. This is the deepest C-USA has ever been at defensive back. Six teams are in “Great Shape” and five teams are in “Good Shape.” When you look at how many question marks are at QB in this conference, we might see another season of defenses leading the way.
- FIU received a conference-best six position groups in “Great Shape”
- Old Dominion received a “We’ll See” at every position group except two: Punter and kicker.
- WKU and Old Dominion were the only teams to not appear in “Great Shape” at any position.
- Positions with the most “Great Shape”: Defensive back (6), Wide Receiver (6), Running Back (5)
- Positions with the most “We’ll See”: Punter (9), Kicker (8), Linebacker (8), Quarterback (8)
C-USA preseason ballot... according to the preseason reviews series
Conference USA East
3. Middle Tennessee
7. Old Dominion
Conference USA West
1. North Texas
2. Southern Miss
3. Louisiana Tech